Avoid the shame and secrecy of crossdressing

Today I was listening to a TED talk on shame by Brene Brown. She said, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”

I got shivers up my spine as I thought about my transgender experience. Shame has been a constant companion through my journey, it has haunted me even as I asked the question of my readers,  “Are you ashamed of being a crossdresser” and even when I stand on the mountaintop victorious over shame I’m aware that it still bides it’s time, hoping for an insurrection of my spirit.


Those in the transgender community know secrecy well. It has been our bed fellow since before we knew what it meant. Growing up in secrecy we hid our feelings. As we blossomed into adulthood we desperately fought to keep our deepest darkest from others. Like a cancer from within, secrecy ate our souls.


Like twin demons dancing down the path to despair, silence and secrecy skip hand in hand. Our desire for secrecy kept us silent, and the silence of the community kept others silent. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. The voices of those who can no longer embrace secrecy has sent a cry of hope out into the silence. This was the reason I started Crossdresser Heaven. At first it was my cry for help – to myself, to understand what I was going through. Then it became my cry of hope – small though it may be, I added my voice to the chorus of those offering advice, encouragement and solace. I told my transgender story. I shared your transgender stories.


Yet judgement wandered among us still – the judgement of our hearts, the judgement of those with little understanding or care. They condemned us as sinners, as heathens and accused us of all manner of debauchery. They stripped down our identity to a single word, erasing all our good deeds and contributions to hang the sign, “Transgender” around our necks. For many the shame was so strong that we bowed our heads and wore this brand as if it were tattooed on our hearts.


It does not need to be this way. We do not need to hide in secret, weep in silence or cower at the judgement foisted upon us. Dear readers, lovely ladies and beautiful kindred spirits, I understand your walk. I know your shame, I feel your struggle, and I hold your hand as you get back up one more time. We are here together. Alone they can isolate us, ridicule us. Together we are strong. Together we can change laws and melt hearts. Together we can find comfort and share warmth.

Together we can pour the salve of empathy on shame. Dousing it so thoroughly that no secrecy, or silence, or judgement can ever infect the beauty of who we are created to be. For all those who have not heard it yet, today I say to you, “me too.

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Misha CeeDeeT.J. ByronJessica SummerFrances walkerStephanny Recent comment authors
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First I want to say that every Transgender person needs to understand that there’s always one who understands you or us like no one else. That’s our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once after the last attempt on my life I realized that every step in my life He has always been there guiding me, shaping me or better making me into a fighter against the evil ones who like judging us in everything we do. To put it simply the only one we have to answer too is Him. Nothing anyone can say or do to us to try… Read more »

Jessica Summer

Hi Vanessa, I want to thank you so much for creating CDH. Additionally, I want to thank you for this article on shame. This truly speaks to my heart. As I have opened up to my wife and see her struggle it hurts so much. I tell her I’m sorry for doing this to her but I feel so much better about myself being a woman. I’m so thankful for her as she is trying so much to accept me and help. She is going to try and treat me as a woman now. Still I know I have more… Read more »

T.J. Byron

More truth in words of your piece have not been spoken or written. It was beautifully composed and thoughtful. You have given a voice to those who before CDH EXISTED.
Thanks for all your efforts on the WORLD of CDERS out there. We all appreciate you!

Misha CeeDee

What a wonderful message. So generous and powerful and yes, empathetic. Thank you. I needed to read this. We all did. Xo

Donna O Lacey

Really enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing your experiences and setting up this wonderful site. We seem to share many similar experiences and anxieties and yet like all individuals we have our differences, our personal experiences traits preferences yet we are bound and acquainted through our shared experiences and struggles. I’m Donna, grew up in Ireland in the middle of the troubles, very insecure and precious situation, staunch Catholic family 2 sisters 5 brothers. No question of understanding tolerance acceptance of anything out of the ordinary. It began early, I used to love watching my mother apply make-up and loved… Read more »

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